Sunday, 17 June 2018

The colour of Watneys bottled beers

In 1963. Didn't want to nake the title to specific.

Toiling on my new book, I needed to dip into the Watney Quality Manual to harvest some recipes. After I - stupidly late - realised that my new book contained recipes that I'd already published in Let's Brew! last year. My own stupid fault.

The Watneys recipes I had via Usher's of Trowbridge, were amongst the problem recipes. How could I publish a book covering 1945-1965 without anything from Watney? The trend-setter of the time.

Luckily I've material so far unused. There's loads of it. Brewing logs photographed, but not processed. Plus other stuff like the Watney Quality Manual.

Boak and Bailey need to be thanked for sending me a pdf. It may not record individual brews, but it gives far more deails than any log. It even lists hop additions and target bitterness levels.

Along with specifying the exact amount of slops you could mix in at racking time. Lovely.

There's also a chart of bottled beer colours. SRM is about a quarter of of these numbers.


WPA = Watney Pale Ale
WBA = Watney Brown Ale
Manns = Manns Brown Ale
CLS = Combe London Stout

Not sure about the others.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Let's Brew - 1961 Thomas Usher P 1/4

If you’re wondering about the cryptic name for this beer, it’s quite simple, really. P stands for Pale Ale and 1/4 is the retail price per pint. It’s very Scottish to name beers by their price. I wonder why?

The system isn’t great in times of inflation. By 1965 the name was P 1/8, the price having gone up by 4d per pint. And it didn’t stop there.

Usher’s records for this period are wonderfully detailed. Before WW II they were in the typical Scottish format, with multiple brews spread across two pages. But these are two pages per brew, one with the brewing details, the other logging the progress of the fermentation.

As the malt extract was added to the mash tun, I assume that its purpose is enzymatic.

Typically, the grist is just pale malt, flaked maize and sugar. The last, in this case, being invert and DAS. Which I’ve interpreted as No. 1 and No. 3 invert, respectively.

The hops were English, more I don’t know.


1961 Thomas Usher P 1/4
pale malt 5.25 lb 70.42%
flaked maize 0.50 lb 6.71%
malt extract 0.125 lb 1.68%
No. 1 invert sugar 1.25 lb 16.77%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.33 lb 4.43%
Fuggles 120 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.125 oz
OG 1036
FG 1006.5
ABV 3.90
Apparent attenuation 81.94%
IBU 22
SRM 7
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 157º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP013 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Friday, 15 June 2018

Why beer was so expensive in 1961

Ever since WW I, the UK has highly taxed beer. A shocking percentage of the price of a pint was made up of tax. How much exactly? Let's take a look at an example.

Clarke's was a small brewery in Stockport, taken over and closed by Boddingtons in the early 1960s. One of their brewing books survives. It handily includes costs. This is for their Bitter:


Here are those details in handy table form:

Costs of Clarke 1/5 BB per brew (71.25 barrels)
£ s d %
Materials 110 18 11 15.95%
tax 584 14 5 84.05%
total 695 13 4
Source:
Clarke brewing record held at Manchester Central Library, document number M693/405/137.

The tax was more than five times the material costs. With such a high percentage of the cost of producing beer fixed in the form of tax, it didn't leave breweries much leeway to compete on price. Except in one way: by getting as much untaxed beer as possible.

A brewery could achieve that two ways. The first was to minimise losses during brewing. Tax was calculated on the volume and OG of wort as it went into the fermenter. There was an allowance of 6% for losses during brewing. A large, efficient brewery could reduce losses to quite a bit less than that. In the example above, 74.64 barrels were brewed and 71.25 were racked, which is a loss of 4.5%. Which means they paid no tax on just over one barrel.

The second way was dogier. That was to reuse stuff which had paid no tax. Such as returned beer, for which brewers received the tax back. Watney were particularly keen on this, using 15% "reprocessed beer" in most of their products.

Here's a breakdown of the costs per pint:

Costs of Clarke 1/5 BB per pint
d %
Materials 1.30 7.63%
Tax 6.84 40.23%
Total cost 8.14 47.86%
Retail price 17

40% of the retail price was tax. That's a pretty hefty chunk. Brewers were resentful of the fact that the governemnt earned considerably more per pint than they did themselves.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Need inspirarion?

For your homebrewing. Then look no further than two of my recent books. Both are jam packed with cool recipes.

First, The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer expansion pack. Except without any of my annoying bullshit, just recipes. Recipe after recipe after recipe. Including ones from North America and some Lagers.




http://www.lulu.com/shop/ronald-pattinson/lets-brew/paperback/product-23289812.html

Next is my award-winning Scotland! Vol. II. Easily the best book ever written about Scottish beer. Containing an insane number of recipes - around 370.





http://www.lulu.com/shop/ronald-pattinson/scotland-vol-2/paperback/product-23090497.html 

I'm getting on dead well with the new book. Except I just realised some of the recipes have already appeared in Let's Brew! book. I'm frantically writing replacements.

A Copenhagen freebie

One of the joys of getting slightly known in the beer world is that I sometimes get to travel for free. By no means always. Most of my travel I pay for myself.

But only once have I had a trip for both me and Dolores paid for: a jaunt to Copenhagen last year, courtesy of Carlsberg. I didn't need to be asked twice. I like the city, but it's even more expensive than Amsterdam.

I must admit to having a bit of a soft spot for Carlsberg. Not for most of their beer, but for the company itself. Despite them closing and demolishing the Tetley brewery in Leeds.

There are a couple of reasons I like them. The first being that they let me look at their brewing records. I like any brewery that lets me rummage around in their drawers, so to speak. But also for their role in developing brewing science. Hansen and Claussen's work on yeast, obviously. But also more recent research. Meeting some of their current scientists was one of the biggest thrills of the trip.

Having time away with Dolores is always fun. It helps that she likes beer. And is reasonably toleerant of me dragging her around endless pubs.I'm sure a reward awaits her in heaven.







Copenhagen

“Do you fancy a couple of days in Copenhagen, Dolores?”

“Who’s paying for it?”

“Carlsberg.*”

“For both of us?”

“Yes.”

“Of course I’m interested, then.”

I didn’t think Dolores would want to pass up on a free trip to Copenhagen

“When were you last there? It was before the kids were born, wasn’t it?’

“It must be over 20 years.”

“There are loads more bikes now. You’ll see. It’s like here.”

Our flight is at 10:30. So we aim to get to Schiphol around 8:30. That doesn’t quite go to plan as there’s a snarl up on the A10 motorway. The bus ride takes twice as long as usual.

We check in one bag. Luckily there isn’t much of a queue at SAS checkin. Never flown with them before. I mostly fly KLM. For frequent flyer reasons.

Amazingly, there’s no queue to speak of at security. It’s our lucky day. Denmark being a Schengen country, there’s no passport control. What to do now?

Our flight departs from pier C, so we head that way. No Irish pub on this pier. But there is an strange Spanish-themed bar, draught Cruzcampo and all. Me and my gut say hello to the bar while Dolores heads off to a massage machine. She always likes to get massacred when in the airport. Me, too. That’s why I’m at the bar.

After a while, it becomes obvious I’m wasting my time expecting to get served at my seat. I join the queue for take-out service. I don’t go for Cruzcampo. And can resist Heineken Extra Cold. Instead I have a Heineken normally cold. And a double Jamesons. It is 9:30, after all. I have a cold, too. So it’s medicinal.

We eat the sandwiches Dolores made for us as we wait for boarding at the gate.

No red wine for me during the flight this time. Only tea and coffee is free. I make do with a coffee.

The airport has changed a lot since Dolores was last here. When I spot a ticket machine, I suggest we take advantage of it. Last year there was a huge queue at the ticket machines landside. It takes a while. Dutch couple is struggling to make it work. They eventually leave without a metro ticket.

Dolores is getting a little edgy as she doesn’t want to leave her bad unattended on the carousel. We navigate the machine easily enough, but struggle when it comes to paying. After trying a couple of cards - and a bit of swearing – I eventually manage to pay. I then go off in search of Dolores and her bag.


They’ve added a metro and mainline railway connection since Dolores was last here. We take advantage of the former, as there’s a stop a couple of hundred metres from our hotel. I realise I’ve never taken it before. It’s one of those scary driverless jobs. Though the platforms have anti-suicide doors like in Singapore or on the Jubilee line in London.

Surfacing at Kongens Nytorv, things are confusing. The square itself is boarded off. They’re still hard at work on a new metro line. It’s hard to get my bearings.

“I think it’s this way” Dolores says.

“I’m pretty sure it’s this way.” I say pointing in the opposite direction.

After a while of looking at the map to no avail, we walk 50 metres to find a street name. Dolores was right. It is that way.

We’re too early to check in so dump our bags and walk off into town. We’re looking for a cash machine. I always like to have some local dosh. Strøget, the main pedestrianised shopping drag seems a good spot to seek one. Which, eventually, we do.

“You’re right about the bikes. At least they have racks here for them.”

Dolores wants to stop by a supermarket to buy some stuff. I suggest the Irma close to Radhusplads. Coincidentally, that means we’ll just about have to walk past BrewPub. Luckily, Dolores is thirsty.


As it’s a lovely sunny day (apart from the odd evil black cloud and random shower) we sit in the courtyard. As Dolores is also feeling peckish, we look at the food menu. Two open-topped sandwiches are only 160 crowns – 20-odd euros in real money.


The sandwiches are very nice. But not 10 euro nice. Just as well Dolores is in a good mood. I wash it down with something IPA-ey, while Dolores has a wheat beer.


Brewpub Geronimo IPA (6.5% ABV)
Dark for an IPA – a reddish dark amber. Not far off the colour of a paler Dark Mild. Served too cold for my taste. Not a great deal of aroma. Then again, I do have an annoying bastard cold. Pretty bitter in the mouth.

“Try this Dolores, It’s like Mild.”

Tentative sip.

“It’s OK. I could drink it.” Praise, indeed.

“Not a Mild really. It’s an American IPA.”

We only stay for the one. Not sure I could afford a second beer for each of us.

The Irma is smaller than Dolores remembers it. She could well be right. But they have a reasonable enough beer selection.

“Oh look Dolores – there’s a Mumme.”

“Yes, really exciting. Do you think I should get a large or a small jar of sild?”

“I bet it isn’t authentic.”

“What, the herring?”

“No, the Mumme. The ABV is too high for a start.”

We load up on snacky stuff like bread, cheese, herring and beer. Lots of that. I’ve seen the pub price for beer.

“You know the upside to Amsterdam having become so expensive, Dolores? Almost everywhere we go seems cheap in comparison.”

“Except here.”

“That’s very true.”

On the way back we notice an off-licence. We have a look to see if it’s cheaper than the airport for akvavit. The cheapest bottle is 79 crowns. Not much more than the 65 crowns my beer cost in Brewpub. And about the same price as Dolores paid for two bags of sweets for Alexei. What a weird pricing structure this country has.

Akvavitted up, we return to our hotel. We laze around for a short while, snack and drink beer. Well, only I do the last one. It passes an hour or so.

Dolores wants to try another supermarket in Christianshavn, then continue on to the street food place on the harbour. That’s fair enough by me. The advantage of having a central hotel is that we can walk everywhere.

I pick up another couple of bottles of beer at the SuperBrugsen. And some frikadellen. Meat balls, really. I lead such an exciting life.

Dolores takes a look at the cider: “Pah! I’m not paying 19 crowns for that little bottle.”


There’s been a lot of building on the waterfront on this side of town. Lots of new flats. Some not bad, some pretty bland. While other buildings have been adapted from their original industrial use. Like the food market. On the wonderfully-named Papirøen (paper island). I think you can work out which industry used to be here.

All that walking has made me thirsty. “Fancy a drink, Dolores?”

“OK.”


There’s an outdoor bar right outside the food hall. I get a Schotz IPA and Dolores a Royal Classic.

“Ow!” Dolores brushes something from her arm. “Something’s bitten me.” A wasp has randomly stung her. She has no luck with insects. The mosquitoes in our house always go for her, too. I think of her as my insect lure.

It’s a lovely day. With the sky and water competing for who can have the most gorgeous shade of blue. The light really does something to the colours up here. An enchanting sight. Which enchants us right through our drinks. Well, me at least. Dolores still seems bothered by the pre-emptive insect strike.

“Peckish?”

“That was the point of coming here, Ronald.” As she rubs the sting on her arm.

Between the bar and the hall there’s a little clump of white trees with labels hanging from them. It’s an art project of Yoko Ono, the wish tree. You’re supposed to write a wish on a label and attach it to a tree.

“I know what my wish would be: ‘John Lennon never met you.’”

“That’s a bit mean, Ronald.”

“But sincere.”

The food is all very tempting. Eventually we settle on a Brazilian meat platter to share. It’s very meaty, which I guess is the point. I fetch us some beer while Dolores gets the food.

As we sit chomping on our meat, I wonder why the toddler next to us keeps staring at the ceiling. Then I look up. There’s a glitterball cow hanging there. No wonder he’s hypnotised.


Once we’ve eaten we take our drinks to finish outside. As the sun sets, the colours concentrate even more before fading into darkness. It really is a wonderful spot, with a variety of boats sailing gaily past.


We stroll slowly back to the hotel. Where I guzzle another couple of beers in our room. What a fun day. Tomorrow is the serious stuff with Carlsberg. Though exactly what, other than a dinner in the evening, I’m not totally sure.





* Carlsberg paid for two return flights, two nights in the Strand Hotel, a lunch, a dinner and various beers.


Metro
http://intl.m.dk


BrewPub Copenhagen
Vestergade 29,
1456 København K.
Tel.: +45 33 32 00 60
http://brewpub.dk/en/


Irma
Vesterbrogade 1A,
1620 København V.
Tel.: +45 33 13 03 53
https://irma.dk/


Skjold Burne
Østergade 1,
1100 København K.
Tel.: +45 33 14 04 81
http://www.skjold-burne.dk/butikker/alle-butikker/230129.aspx


SuperBrugsen
Christianshavns Torv 2,
1410 København K.
Tel.: +45 32 64 06 00
https://superbrugsen.dk/


La Halle
Papirøen,
Trangravsvej 10-12,
1436 København K.


Copenhagen Street Food
Hal 7 & 8 Papirøen,
Trangravsvej 14, 7/8,
1436 København K.
Tel.: +45 33 93 07 60
http://copenhagenstreetfood.dk/




A day with Carlsberg (part one)

We awake still not 100% sure of the plan for the day. So we get stuck into breakfast.

Dolores is disappointed by the lack of herring. “I thought they always had herring in Scandinavia?” She has to make do with cake instead. Of which there‘s a good selection. My disappointment comes in fried form. Or rather the lack of it. I content myself with a boiled egg.

As we’re getting out of the lift we bump – pretty much literally – into Jay Brooks and his wife Sarah. He doesn’t have much more clue of the day’s plan than we do. Other than that someone from Carlsberg should be here at ten.

Which is indeed the case. I get a call from reception to tell me of her arrival. We trail downstairs and find a very nice young lady called Caroline, who outlines what will be happening. Starting at noon, when we’ll be picked up by a bus and taken to the Glyptotek. Which gives us a couple of hours.

Dolores fancies taking a look at Christiansborg Slot, a royal palace that isn’t far away. So off we set.

It’s another beautiful summer day, the sky and water brilliant blue again. The city looks wonderful in bright sunlight.

We pass a church on our way and Dolores suggest we take a look inside. It’s a bit tardis-like, seeming much bigger inside that it appears from the street. There’s a model ship hanging from the ceiling.


“I’ve never seen a ship in a church before.” Dolores remarks. Neither have I. And I assume the other visitors haven’t either, as they’re all snapping it.

Someone is playing the organ which adds nicely to the atmosphere. As we’re leaving I notice a poster advertising an organ recital every Wednesday morning. Mmm. It hadn’t drawn much of a crowd.

As we wait at the traffic lights to cross over to the palace, something strikes me.


“They don’t seem to have perfected the Amsterdam cyclist’s method of negotiating traffic lights. They actually stop when the light is red. Amateurs!” I say to Dolores.

“Have you noticed something else about the cyclists here? Loads are wearing helmets. No-one over six wears a helmet in Amsterdam.”

Being cheapskates, we don’t plan entering the palace, just having a nose around outside. There’s a lovely little garden around the back of the national library. With a wonderful show of dazzling yellow flowers that glow in the sun. Very relaxing.


Looking at a map of the complex, I notice something called Christian IV’s Bryghus.

“Oh look, Dolores, there’s a brewery.”

“I suppose you want to go and look at it.”

“How did you guess?”

It isn’t far. Handsome and substantial, is how I’d describe the red brick edifice. It looks like German buildings of the period, with its massive roof. Christian IV was king from 1588 to 1648, so it was probably built in the early 17th century.


Currently it houses a lapidarium. Isn’t that a collection of butterflies?. A quick glance through the windows reveals that it’s really a collection of statues. We can’t go in because it doesn’t open until noon.

Back at the hotel, we’ve time to make ourselves beautiful before going downstairs for the bus. First destination is the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, a museum built by Carl Jacobsen, son of Carlsberg’s founder, to house his art collection. It’s weird thinking that I’ve handled documents written by Carl Jacobsen.

As the bus inches through the city’s traffic, we chat with Caroline. She’s only been with Carlsberg for three weeks, working as an intern. Before that she spent six months as an exchange student in Amsterdam. Which gives us lots to talk about. Like the crazy behaviour of Dutch cyclists.

There’s a mob of people hanging around outside the museum. Including an unruly gang of British beer writers. Martyn Cornell, Adrian Tierney-Jones, Tim Hampson, Roger Protz, Matt Curtis and Mark Dredge. Obviously all people I know.

We’re in the museum for a TEDx talk. No idea what that is*. They’ve brought back J. C. Jacobsen, Carlsberg founder, for the first talk. In hologram form. We’re led through the museum to the room where the talks will happen. Very attractive it is, too. Though the statue in the fountain is a little disturbing.


We walk past lots and lots of ancient sculptures, mostly Greek and Roman it looks like.

They’re handing out cider and beer. I’m not going to say no.

“How did you get a full glass?” Roger Protz asks me. “Easy, I poured two into one.” I’ve been to events like this before.

It’s quite hot. And some of the older members of our party soon look like they’re dozing off.

The general theme is uncertainty. One speaker says how he and a few mates regularly go away for the weekend. They get another friend to plan and book everything, and only discover their destination when they get to the airport. A bit weird, I think. Then I realise that I sort of do that with my US trips. Several places I visited on my Midwest trip weren’t really planned. Just where someone offered to hold an event.


After three talks, it’s time for lunch. Though I think I’ll pass on the snack insects in the box that was on our seats. We’re dining al fresco in the garden at the back of the museum. It’s quite pleasant, given the lovely weather. And there’s plenty of Carlsberg to drink. I wouldn’t normally drink their Pils. But it’s free. And it’s hot. And I’m thirsty.


* Andrew was shocked that we’d never heard of it. He’s watched some of the TEDx talks on the internet.


Disclaimer: Carlsberg paid for two return flights, two nights in the Strand Hotel, a lunch, a dinner and various beers.


Holmens Kirke
Holmens Kanal 21,
1060 København K.
Tel.: +45 33 13 61 78
http://www.holmenskirke.dk/


Christiansborg Slot
Prins Jørgens Gård 1,
1218 København'
http://kongeligeslotte.dk/da/slotte-og-haver/christiansborg-slot.html

Kongernes Lapidarium
Christian 4.s Bryghus,
Frederiksholms Kanal 39,
1220 København K.
http://kongeligeslotte.dk/da/slotte-og-haver/kongernes-lapidarium-i-christian-4s-bryghus.html


Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Dantes Plads 7,
1556 København
https://www.glyptoteket.dk/



A day with Carlsberg (part two)

Lunched, we’re bused over to the Carlsberg Laboratory. Where we’re split into groups for the “breakout sessions” whatever they might be.


Maybe it’s a sign of how nerdy I am, but I get a real thrill being in the building where so much important research was done. Carlsberg basically invented serious brewing science. When William Younger wanted to start their own lab in the 1880’s, they sent their chemist out to Carlsberg for three months to see how things were done.

There’s a lovely motto over the staircase:

“No result of the institute's work which is of theoretical or practical importance can be kept secret”

A very noble sentiment

I’m thrilled at the chance to meet and talk to real scienticians. As we’re walking to the auditorium, Dolores speaks to Birgitte Skadhauge, one of Carlsberg’s top scientists and an expert on barley:

“Can you tell me where the toilets are?” All that beer at lunch is having an effect.

We’re given some short – and very interesting – talks about the barley research that Carlsberg is doing. They’ve developed a type of barley that doesn’t contain the precursors for DMS and staling compounds. Meaning that beer will have a longer shelf-life without being pumped full of chemicals

Slightly weirder, they’ve also bred a red barley. And have been experimenting with brewing from unripe, green barley.  We head down to Hansen’s lab to try three beers.


The beers are presented by Zoran Gojkovic, director of research strategy at the lab and Erik Lund, head brewer at the lab’s pilot brewery. The first beer is from their non-staling barley.

We’ve positioned ourselves right next to the taps. Handy for getting beer quickly. Sadly, my bastard cold stops me from really tasting any of the beers. Which is a bit annoying. So instead I chat a little to the young female Danish journalist who’s standing next to us. Very pleasant and friendly, as most Danish people seem to be.


(For a more detailed account of the science bits, read Martyn Cornell’s post.
 http://zythophile.co.uk/2017/08/30/red-beer-green-lager-immature-barley-beer-the-innovations-i-drank-on-a-jolly-to-carlsberg/)

Once we’re done we have two options: take a look around the brewery or take the bus back to the hotel. We opt for the latter. I’ve seen the brewery before and we need to get ready for the posh dinner this evening.

I have one set of clothes for such occasions. How often they come around is demonstrated by the fact that my jacket still had stuff in its pockets from the beer writers’ guild dinner last December.

Another slow bus ride takes us back to the Carlsberg complex. This time to the former villa of Carl Jacobsen, now a museum and business centre.

The evening kicks off with a couple of speeches from Carlsberg people and one from a Danish government minister. Luckily they don’t last too long and we can soon take our places for dinner.


I’m pleased to discover that Zoran Gojkovic is one of our table companions. Great. My chance for a chat with an expert.

I warned Dolores not to expect huge portions. At least the food is served on plates. White plates. Starting with oysters.

There’s a story behind the meal. Everything used could appear in beer. Or something like that. Meaning the oysters are the closest thing to meat we can expect. To go with it we’re given a blend of Carl’s Classic and Porter. The reasoning being that Porter goes with oysters, but it was too strong straight for the start of the meal. Luckily a couple of bottles of Porter are left on the table and I can drink some straight.


They’ve got really good sourdough bread to accompany the courses. Which pleases Dolores no end. She’s a big fan of sourdough. Well, she would be, being German.

Zoran, I discover, did his PhD on yeast. We get chatting about Brettanomyces, which is one of his specialties. He has a collection of 250 or so strains.

“Real Brettanomyces strains. Lots of strains of Saccharomyces have been misidentified as Brettanomyces.” He informs me. Only by looking at the DNA can we be certain which strains are really Brettanomyces.”

It’s great – but also slightly intimidating – to chat with someone who know his subject so well.


The courses come and go, along with the beer. Carlsberg 1883 is the next beer. It’s a commercial version of the rebrew beer of last year. Then Saaz Blonde, a spicily hoppy Jacobsen beer. Finally, it’s the oddest of the lot: India Dark Ale, a zero alcohol beer fermented with lactobacillus. Weird, but not bad.

Returning from a toilet visit, Dolores tells me that she spotted a famous Danish actor. “He was in that 1864 thing. He played the father.”

The dinner is running late. We’re supposed to be back at our hotel by 10:30 for an “open bar”. But it’s almost midnight when we get there. And there’s no sign of an open bar. Some of the others discuss a nightcap somewhere. I’m too knacked. We head instead for our room and the sweet embrace of sleep.



Disclaimer: Carlsberg paid for two return flights, two nights in the Strand Hotel, a lunch, a dinner and various beers.



Carlsberg Research Laboratory
4, 1799, J. C. Jacobsens Gade,
1778 København V.


Carlsberg Museum & Business Centre
Valby Langgade 1,
2500 Valby.



Back to Amsterdam

I awake glad that I finished yesterday sensibly. I can’t be doing with late nights any more.

The quality of breakfast cake just about manages to offset Dolores’s disappointment at the lack of herring. I really like cheese, but it can’t really replace bacon in the morning. What Could? Once Dolores is sated on cake and I’ve finished sobbing into my boiled egg, we head back upstairs.

I’ve still got a couple of beers and, as I can’t be arsed to pack them all, I polish off a couple. It gets me nicely warmed up for the day.

Our plan is achingly simple: check out, drink cask beer in Charlie’s Bar, and take the metro to the airport.

We take our bags with us. Makes sense, as Charlie’s Bar is closer to the metro station than it is to the hotel. Not really a problem as we’re travelling pretty light. As Charlie’s opens at noon, we check out at 11:45.

It’s another lovely day as we trundle through town, our trolley bags trundling behind us. Charlie’s is on a side street. My memory not being what it was, I need to consult a map to find it.


We’re the first customers. Not really surprising as it’s only just opened.

A slight miscalculation has left us with far too many crowns. What on earth can we do with them all?

“A pint of Full Nelson and a double Lagavullin, please.”

Dolores gives me a look.

“I’m just trying to make sure we get through the money.”

“And destroy your liver.”

“But I’m on holiday.”

“That’s what you always say.”

Dolores is struggling to find something to drink. Most of the cask beers they have on are too modern for her tastes. Eventually, after a couple of tasters, she settles on a Wild Beer Wild in the Cask.


I’ve heard lots about Tiny Rebel, but never tried their beer before now. This one is pretty good. And disappears stomach-bound pretty quickly. I like it so much, I think I’ll get another.

“No more whisky.” Dolores warns me as I head for the bar.

“But I’m on holiday.”

“No more whisky.” She repeats, accompanied with a look. Best skip the whisky, then.


Our flight is at 15:30 so we can’t linger. Luckily it’s not that long a trundle to the metro.

It’s all so civilised. The metro is clean and actually ends in the terminal, not at some random location half a mile away. Security isn’t mobbed and we’re soon airside.

“You know what we could do with that spare money?”

“What Ronald? And don’t say ‘Buy whisky.’”

Damn. Dolores know me annoyingly well. Thinking on my feet, I say “Get Lexie some vodka. It only seems fair, given all the bottles of spirits we’ve brought back for Andrew.”

Hah. She can’t argue with that one. While we’re in the duty free, I have a quick look at the budget end of the akvavit range. And slip a litre bottle into my basket.

“What’s that, Ronald?” Dolores asks accusingly.

“It’s not whisky. You didn’t say anything about akvavit. And we’ve still oodles of money left. It would be a shame to waste it.”

Dolores seems too tired to argue.

We’ve still got plenty of time. And some money.

“I wouldn’t mind a beer somewhere.” I suggest.

Though, in the millions of shops in the airport, there doesn’t seem to be a suitable bar. Except . . . over there is an Irish bar. It’ll have to do I guess.

I wedge myself twixt a barstool and the bar. Dolores leaves me there and disappears off for some more shopping or something.

“A pint of Guinness, please. And a double Jamesons, no ice.” I quickly knock back the whiskey and move the glass away before Dolores returns. I don’t want her to think that I’ve been disobeying her again.

The flight is uneventful. Except for me drinking coffee again. That’s unusual.

Poor bus selection makes the journey home longer than necessary. My fault. How was I to know what a roundabout route the 300 takes?



Disclaimer: Carlsberg paid for two return flights, two nights in the Strand Hotel, a lunch, a dinner and various beers.



Charlie's Bar
Pilestræde 33,
1112 København K.
Tel.: +45 51 21 22 89

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Boddington IP

A very special recipe this time. One I created for a particular purpose: to honour my eldest brother Eddie, who died recently.

The idea was simple. Find a beer brewed on the day of his birth and get Henry to brew it. Just one small problem. Turns out Eddie was born on a Saturday, when many breweries didn't brew. The best I could manage was one from the day before his birth.

Eddie's funeral was last Friday and we brewed the beer the following day in Collingham, the village outside Newark where Henry has his Cat Asylum brewery. Dann and Martha - the artists formerly known as Pretty Things - were there to help.

It all went pretty well. The wort tasted great and had the straw colour typical of Boddington's Bitter, which is what it is. I got to throw the yeast in, which was, at least, a change from adding the hops.

Eddie was fond of a drink, like all the Pattinsons. I think he'd like the idea of a beer to commemorate of his life. We'll be giving some of the beer to his childrean and grandkids.

Best beer-related story about Eddie. When he was a military policeman, he used a Guinness label as a road tax disc. 

Rest in peace, brother.


1939 Boddington IP
pale malt 6.75 lb 68.67%
flaked wheat 0.33 lb 3.36%
flaked maize 2.00 lb 20.35%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.75 lb 7.63%
Cluster 150 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
Cluster dry hops 0.125 oz
OG 1045
FG 1010.5
ABV 4.56
Apparent attenuation 76.67%
IBU 48
SRM 6
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 162º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 61.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

A trip to Balderton

I'm just back from a trip to Balderton. But this isn't about that particular journey. But one I made last year with the kids dragging behind me.

For some inexplicable reason, my children seem to like Newark/Balderton. Weird. I couldn't get away from there quickly enough. And that was when they still had buses after 6 PM. I suppose at least the pubs open all day now.

Perhaps it's the contrast with Amsterdam that appeals to them. Quiet market town as opposed to bustling metropolis. Too bustling, nowadays, with tourists. The centre of Amsterdam is turning into a tourist hell-hole. Which is why I almost never venture there. Only when I have a good reason. Like catching a train.

Free beer might be a draw, too. And the pie and chips. All the healthfood stuff kids love.



Baldo here we come

“Oh that’s good.”

“What is, dad?”

I’m just looking at the departures screen. “Our flight leaves from pier D.”

“What’s so good about that?”

“It’s where the Irish pub is.”

We’ve already picked up sandwiches from La Place using a voucher Andrew got from his work. It took a while for them to accept it. First all the staff behind the counter, then off for a consultation with the manager, before we get the nod.

“How much did it cost, dad?” Alexei asks me.

“Seventeen euros fifty.”

“Is that with or without the fifteen euro voucher?”

“Without. With, just two fifty. It’s still blooming expensive.”

We’re already checked in and have to hold bags so we can waltz straight through to security. It’s always a worry, going up those stairs, wondering how far the queue will stretch back. Though if it’s really bad you can tell before, as it will come all the way down the stairs. Then you know you’re in for a fun two hours of shuffling slowly forward.

We’re in luck. There are only a dozen or so people in front of us. As soon as we get to the front, Andrew starts chatting with the staff. He’s recently started working at security here. It’s slightly strange, him chatting to his colleagues. Not used to the lazy git being gainfully employed rather than stuck behind his computer all day.

They pull my bag out for closer inspection. They always do. I factor that into my timings.

The queue for passport control isn’t too bad, either. Soon we’re home free aiside.

It’s a bit of a walk to pier D. Just as well we’ve left plenty of time. I don’t want to have to rush my pint.

The kids don’t remember the Irish pub.

“You must have been here before.”

“I can’t remember it, Dad.” Says Andrew.

“Strange. I’ve been here loads of times. I recognise all the bar staff.” Which is true. Tells you a lot about how often I’m in Schiphol.

This is going to be an interested trip. It’s the first time he’ll have been in Britain since turning 18. Which could make it an expensive trip for me.

“What do you want, boys?”

“Cider.”

“I’ll have a cider, too.”

“I won’t ask if you want a pint. No son of mine is going to drink a half.”

I go for a Murphy’s Stout. And a double Jamesons. It is 5 PM, after all.

Alexei is quickly through his cider. He’s knocked it back like apple juice, which is what he usually drinks.

“Another one, Lexie?”

“Yes, please.”

“I’ll have a Stout, dad” Andrew chips in.

We’re flying with Flybe to Doncaster Sheffield airport. Maybe a little further than East Midlands, but much easier to get to from Newark. Straight up the A1. And it’s nice and small, like East Midlands used to be until they changed it to a seatless shopping centre.


My brother David has arranged a taxi. He told the driver to look out for a fat old bloke and two giant lads. Cheeky git. The kids aren’t really that tall. For Dutch standards. He manages to find us easily enough. It’s a pretty small airport, after all.

Bizarrely, our driver is really into cycling. Despite, er, being built like a taxi driver. It’s hard to imagine him on a bike. He only just about fits in the car. And I say that as a fat old bloke.

We quite handily get to Dave’s just after the chippie next door opens. We get a pie and mushy peas each. And some chips. Unwisely, I order a large bag of chips. They keep shovelling more and more chips onto the pile until there’s a veritable chip mountain*. It must weigh a good two kilos. I’m not joking.


Luckily, there’s some beer to wash it down. A very special beer. My schoolfriend Henry has just opened a brewery in Collingham, a few miles outside Newark. And he’s brought over a firkin of a very special beer. A dead famous beer. Or should I say infamous? It’s 1963 Watney’s Red Barrel. Obviously, from a recipe of mine.

“You won’t be able to get a full pint,” David says, “It’s very heavily conditioned.”

He’s right. But I take his comment as a challenge. With a bit of patience I’m able to get a full glass with a lovely tight collar.

The beer itself is pretty nice. Obviously being cask rather than pasteurised to buggery, it’s not exactly a clone of the original. A good drinking beer. As the kids prove as they knock back pint after pint. No idea where they’ve got that from. Must be their Mum.

We need to get stuck into the firkin. 72 pints, four of us, three days. I make that six pints a day each. Another challenge.

Tomorrow there’s a special treat in store for Lexie: a trip to Wetherspoons. Where he’ll be able to enjoy a pint for the first time.




* The photo is actually of a small bag of chips. I forgot to snap the mountain. It was about three times the size of that.


A 1 Fish Bar
234 London Rd, Balderton,
Newark NG24 3HD.
Tel.: +44 1636 702679




Wetherspoons here we come

I’m awoken by my brother David bringing me a cup of tea before he leaves for work. Then get back to some heavy-duty dozing.

I finally drag myself out of bed at 10. No sign of the kids. So I get myself a pint of Red Barrel while I wait for them to get their sorry arses in gear.

When they come down, I ask: “What do you want for breakfast?”

“Is there bacon, dad?” Alexei asks.

“Of course there is. Uncle David knew you were coming.”

“I’ll have a bacon sandwich, too.” Andrew replies, before I even have time to ask him. Three bacon sandwiches it is, then.

Henry arrives a little later in his fancy new van. Definitely an improvement on his crappy old one.  He says he’ll give us a lift into town. There are only three seats in the cab, so Alexei has to jump in the back with a barrel and some other junk. Somehow Henry has managed to get it as dirty inside as his old van.

He drops us off in front of the Corn Exchange and tells us he’ll see us later in Wetherspoons.


As we’re walking down Stodman Street, I pause to take a snap of The Woolpack, sorry, the Prince Rupert. The kids are now 20 metres in front of me. So I can see the reaction of the youths hanging around outside the tattoo parlour. They point, mouths open, at the two giants. I’ve forgotten how much shorter people are in Britain.

Wetherspoons is pretty full. Mostly with pensioners: old blokes drinking John Smiths smooth, grannies drinking tea. We struggle to find a seat. I need space to set up my laptop, seeing as David has no wifi in his house. It’s like going back to the Dark Ages. Just without the violence. And the plague.


The kids have both gone for cider again. I have some cask beer or other. The barman is about five foot tall and looks about fourteen. So it’s a bit odd when he asks the boys for id. They hand him their verblijfsvergunnings and he looks at them bemusedly. After a minute or so he asks:

“Where’s the birthdate?”

“On the back.” Andrew points out.

Teenage barman goes off to consult a more senior member of staff about the id.

“They won’t have any idea what it is.” Andrew says.

“They probably think it’s a driving licence.”

Our junior barman returns and serves us. Whew! Alexei would have been pissed off at missing his first pint in Spoons.

My pint, Nottingham Brewery Sir John Special, has a slightly strange aftertaste. Something not 100% right there.

Once we’ve moved to a bigger table we’re ready to order some food. An all-day brunch each for the kids, steak and kidney pudding for me. I like to eat healthily.

Henry tuns up and gets himself a half. He doesn’t stay long. Has something or other to do in connection with his brewery. Just an excuse, I bet. He’s always finding reasons to duck out of things.

“Where do you fancy next, lads?”

“I don’t know, dad.”

“I suppose I’ll have to decide then. The Woolpack it is, then.”

“Isn’t it called the Prince Rupert, now?”

“Not in my head it isn’t, Andrew.”



I’ve always liked the Woolpack. Mostly because it was about the only pub in town to retain its multiroom layout. They’ve since moved the bar and changed the layout a bit, but it still retains the core of its original floor plan.

Alexei is still on the cider. Andrew has moved on to Guinness. Even though both are evil keg, I don’t mind. Happy to let them drink what they like. I, naturally, tread the path of righteousness and have a pint of cask.

Alexei is on his phone. “Mum says can you get her a Radio Times. And some tea.”

“No problem. I need to drop by WH Smiths to buy a Viz, anyway.”

We only stay for the one. We need to get back for our tea. And I plan on visiting Newark’s micropub, Just Beer.

“It’s on Murderer’s Yard.” I tell the kids. Which is true, but I won’t go into the full, sad story. You can read it here.

It’s encouragingly busy in Just Beer. But we can find a seat. The kids have both opted for a Lemon and Lime Cider abomination. I continue to follow the path of cask righteousness.

Alexei’s cider thing is soon almost. “You’ve got a bit of a thirst, Alexei.”

“It’s just like drinking pop.”

I try it. “You’re right. Obviously one aimed at the kiddies.”


The kids are intrigued by the card game being played. “It looks like cribbage to me.”

One of the participants turns around and says: “Yes, that’s right. This is the only place it’s played in Newark.”

Odd that. I always thought of cribbage as one of the standard pub games. I’ve played it plenty of times. Though the exact rules escape me at the moment.

We walk to the bus station via WH Smith. Where I eventually find Viz. As we walk through town there’s more pointing and staring at the boys. Haven’t they seen someone two metres tall before?

There’s another reason, other than our tea, we haven’t left it too late. The last bus is just after six. Britain really is turning to total shit. On the upside, the pound is tanking nicely, which makes everything cheaper for me.

David hasn’t polished off the barrel, as I’d feared. Still plenty of Red Barrel left for me and the kids to tuck into. It’s still drinking very nicely.

After a few pints I get peckish around 9 PM.

“I might go and get myself a pie, Dave.”

“You’d best hurry up, they’ll be closing soon.”

I get to the chippie with the kids just before they close the doors for the night. In addition to my pie, they give us another mountain of chips and a few battered sausages. Which pleases the kids. Somehow we manage to get through it all.

Tomorrow we’ll get to see Henry’s brewery. That’ll be exciting.






The Sir John Arderne
3 Church St,
Newark NG24 1DT.
Tel.: +44 1636 671334
https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/pubs/all-pubs/england/nottinghamshire/the-sir-john-arderne-newarkontrent

The Prince Rupert
46 Stodman Street,
Newark NG24 1AW.
Tel.: +44 1636 918121
http://www.kneadpubs.co.uk/

Just Beer Micropub
32A Castle Gate,
Newark NG24 1BG.
Tel.: +44 1636 312047
http://www.justbeermicropub.biz/




Cat Asylum here we come

I rise at nine, wondering where my cup of tea is.

Ah, that’s the answer. Dave isn’t up yet. That’s a bit of a bummer. I fancy a cup of tea. I make do with a pint of Red Barrel instead. It’s only 3.7% ABV so perfectly fine as a breakfast beer.

I try to get David’s telly to work while I’m waiting for everyone to get up. It’s harder than it sounds. He has multiple satellite and cable boxes. A bit of fiddling does produce a picture. I think just through the TV itself.

The kids come down and I get them to help with the television. They manage to get the cable working. Brilliant. Now we can put the Hitler channel on. Which is what the kids do.

Dave finally drags his lazy arse downstairs and makes us some tea. The kids are very keen on tea, too. Must be their English genes. Though Dolores is quite partial to a cuppa as well. I fire up the grill and get the bacon cooking.

“How black do you want your bacon, Lexie.”

“Not black at all.”

“Just a little bit black, then?”

“No, not black, dad. Can you be serious for a minute.”

“How black do you want your bacon, Andrew.”

“Shut up about the black shit, dad.”

“Someone’s a Mr. Grumpy Trousers this morning.”

“Just make my sandwich, dad.”

My own bacon I cook a lovely shade of crispy golden black. Just how I like it.

Dave puts on a French quiz show. He’s got himself a French satellite box. It’s so he can keep up his French. Not a bad idea. I’d do it myself if I had any arsing left in me.

Henry is supposed to come and pick us up at 11:30. I’m amazed when the doorbell rings at 11:29.

“Henry’s on time, for once.”

Except he isn’t. It’s my sister Margaret.

I mention our encounter with the teenage barman in Spoons. “He looks about fourteen”, I say.

Margaret knows him, as she also frequents Spoon. “He’s 21.”

“You what?”

“I know. I thought he was still at school, too. He wouldn’t be much use if things kicked off. Though the barmaids can sort people out. The one’s a big lass.”

What an exotic place Newark is. So much fun. If you don’t have to live there.

Henry rings to say he’s had to something vague connected with the brewery. More likely he’s been sat on his arse listening to Radio 4. The plan is now to get here at 13:30. I fetch myself another pint of Red Barrel.

“Fancy a beer, lads?”

“It’s a bit early for me.” Andrew replies.

“But it’s almost twelve.”

“Still early for me.”

That’s true. Before he had a job he was rarely out of bed in the morning.

I while away the time waiting for Henry with more Red Barrel. Alexei joins me after a while.

I decide to explain a little about the beer he’s drinking. “It’s the classic Evil Keg beer. Do you know what that means?”

“No. And I don’t care. Can you let me drink my beer in peace, dad?”

I persist “Evil Keg is . . . . “

“Daaad, I told you. I don’t care. Just shut up about that crap”

Amazingly, Henry actually tuns up approximately on time. It’s Andrew’s turn to ride in the back. At least it’s not mine. My poor old bones aren’t up to that sort of thing. As I keep telling the kids.


Henry’s lucky to have a house with several sizeable outbuildings. Including an old barn, which now houses his brewery. I’m surprised how neat and tidy it all his. With the usual shiny things shining shiningly. Not much more you can say about them, really.

While we’re admiring the shiny things, Phil Dale and his wife Annick turn up with a dog and two chickens. I can’t have seen them for 30 years. They also live in Collingham.

The chickens aren’t live chickens, but roasted ones. I thought we’d just come to take a look at the brewery. It seems like there’s going to be some sort of party. That’s confirmed when Baz, his builder and brewing assistant, arrives accompanied by his girlfriend. Then Spook, someone else I haven’t seen for decades.


Henry has a couple of barrels set up in his tasting room. Which is half of the old plough-making workshop. Where there are a variety of chairs and settees, in various state of dilapidation. The building is full of, er, old crap. Weird old tools, handmade work benches and lots of stuff I can’t recognise.  Rustic, you might call it, if you were being kind.

Lexie is keen to see Henry’s cock. Sorry, that’s come across badly. I mean the feathered type of cock, which is in one of the many outbuildings. It’s pretty aggressive and scary. Not sure why Henry has it, given he’s a vegetarian.


Steve, a former colleague of Henry from his teaching days, turns up with some sort of insanity pepper. 2.5 million scovilles. He persuades Andrew to eat a little piece.

“It’s not that bad,” he says at first. It doesn’t last long. Soon he gasping for milk. It’s a while before the sweating subsides.

Amazingly, Alexei gives it a try, too. With exactly the same effect. Me? I’m not daft enough to let a pepper like that anywhere near my mouth.

One of the casks contains William Younger 80/-. My recipe, obviously. It’s pretty nice, though so heavily conditioned it’s hard to pour a full pint. Lexie struggles with the tap and gets beer  all over the floor. Not to worry. It’s not as if it will add substantially to the mess.

“You’ve got lovely plums, Henry.” I remark. The fruit I mean. Which he does. Really tasty ones. “You should pick them before they fall off and rot.”


He doesn’t seem moved to action. “Get yourself a still, then it doesn’t matter if your fruit gets overripe.”

Henry replies: “I’ve got some home-made spirit from Portugal. Do you fancy trying it? I’ll warn you it’s a bit rough.”

This is the point where things start getting out of hand.

“It’s not that rough. I’ve had much worse. Jonge Jenever is like drinking paintstripper.”

“I think I’ve still got some Lagavullin somewhere.”

Henry returns with a bottle of Lagavullin, which is about a quarter full. I do love me Lagavullin.

Things then get blurry. A bit like this photo.


We adjourn to Phil and Annick’s place. Which has a garden just slightly smaller than Wales. We drink more beer.

At some point we take a taxi back to Dave’s. Not that I can really remember it. Funnily enough, I have no trouble falling asleep. Let’s see what state the kids are in tomorrow.



Cat Asylum
Collingham.



Baldo there we go

Dave wakes me with a cup of tea at around ten. I’m not feeling that bad, considering, now I recall the Lagavullin.

The kids look pretty rough when they come downstairs. Andrew just lies on the settee, staring into space. Alexei looks a bit livelier.

“Fancy a Red Barrel, Lexie.”

“No.”

“I’ll take that as a maybe.”

“It’s a no, dad.”

I can’t get anything to come out of the barrel. So I have one of the unlabelled rye beers Henry brought.

Andrew isn’t up to a bacon sandwich. Just as well, as there’s only enough bacon for two.

“How do you want your bacon, Lexie? Black or really black.”

“Honestly dad can you shut up with that black shit. It isn’t funny.”

David is cooking a traditional Sunday lunch: jerk pork.  Thankfully only using scotch bonnet peppers, not the insanity pepper the kids tried yesterday.

Henry arrives around one and helps me chock up the barrel. Brilliant! Another pint of Red Barrel for me.

Alexei has livened up a bit and gets himself a pint as well.

“Dare of the hog, Alexei?” Alexei doesn’t get what he means.

The meal is dead traditional: jerk pork, rice and peas, roast parsnips and salad. Traditionally Jamaican, I mean. Though the last two seem to have wandered into the wrong party. The pork is pretty hot, as I like it. The kids don’t seem to mind. Then again, they were chewing insanity pepper yesterday. This probably tastes pretty mild to them.

We arranged to see Henry and Dexter in the Cock Inn after lunch. Sorry, Chesters after lunch. Why do they change pub names?


When we arrive Henry and Dexter are sitting outside with pints.

“Do you want another?” I ask politely.

“I’ll have another Sharp’s Atlantic.” Dexter replies. Henry has to pass, as he’s driving.

The Atlantic runs out after the first pull. Leaving Doom Bar as the only cask choice. That won’t bother the kids, as they’re both on the cider again. The food seems to have livened them up a bit.

I can only stay for a couple. We’ve a taxi booked for 17:00.

We haven’t bothered turning up that early. Only an hour or so before boarding. It’s a pretty small airport. And not many people are around.

I get myself a couple of whiskies during the flight. Just to round off the holiday. The kids seem to have enjoyed themselves. And why wouldn’t they, with all the free beer and cider they got?



Chesters
72 Main St,
Balderton,
Newark NG24 3LL.
+44 1636 703606

Monday, 11 June 2018

African millet Beer

Europe and the Middle East weren't the only places where beer developed. South America and Africa also had their own types of beer.

Not barley-based, but using other, local sources of starch. In South America that was in the form of the indigenous grain, maize. From which chicha is made. In Africa, millet is the grain of choice.

In the 19th-century the production method of millet beer was fairly rudimentary. As with chicha, the grain wasn't malted but instead chewed, letting the enzymes in human spit convert the starch into sugar.

"K*ffir Beer.
Those who have studied books of travel on or have travelled in South Africa are familiar with that strong acid drink which is called Pombe or K*fir beer. Some few scientific data regarding it have already been published by Saare, who states that it is prepared from durra, a species of millet, growing wild in most parts of Africa. Quite recently D. Reinitzer had an opportunity of examining a sample of this K*ffir beer, which was obtained from the Orange Free State, where it is brewed and largely consumed by the K*ffir races. The preparation of the millet of K*ffir corn takes place before the brewing proper, and consists of crushing between stones and of chewing or mastication. No particular yeast is added. The product of K*ffir teeth and K*ffir grindstones is mixed with water and simply allowed to ferment by itself. The sample described by F. Reinitzer is similar to that which was described by Saare. It consisted of a thick milky white or even pale reddish coloured fluid, having a sour taste, which, though not exactly pleasant, could scarcely be considered disgusting. The smell of this K*ffir beer closely resembles that of curdled milk. It is more strongly acid. When a portion of it was distilled, alcohol was obtained and a small quantity of acetic acid. A microscopical examination showed the presence of many forms of bacteria, which appeared chiefly as thick and rather long rods, but there were some which were short and thick and even short and thin. Most of the bacteria seemed to resemble the bacteria of acetic acid. The beer also contained a copious amount of brown mildew spores and also mycelium remains, whilst a large ellipsoideus-like yeast was fairly plentiful. Some of the yeast was isolated, and some fermentation experiments conducted with it. From these it appears that the yeast belongs to the well-known Saaz type. The analysis of the K*ffir beer was as follows:

90.97 per cent. fluid matter.
90.03 per cent. solid substances.

The dry remainder contiiiued 0.5 g. ash constituents, therefore 5.54 deg. of ash in the dry substance. Saccharometer value of the filtrate, 2.05 per cent. Bllg. Acids in the filtrate=4.0, of which 5 per cent. are volatile acids (acetic acid). Alcohol in filtrate, 4.0 volumes per cent. The ferment which brings about the alcoholic changes in Pombe certainly originates with the K*ffir millet, for Reinitzer has succeeded in isolating from durra the ellipsoideus-like Saaz yeast. This yeast, as well as the saccharomyces from the Pombe, collect easily, and form a tough mass at the bottom, so that in order to attain the end—fermentation -—the wort should be shaken up as much as possible. Besides the ellipsoideus-like Saaz yeast, mould casts also appear on the dorra, and a saccharomyces of the Frohberg type, which in appearance distinguish es itself from the smaller ellipsoideus kind in form and larger dimensions. Besides the yeasts there are also discovered on the durra lactic acid bacteria and of mildews: penecillium and fusisporium. Mildews forming acetic acid were not found upon durra. This paper may be found in the Wochenschrift fur Brauerei, No. 3 , p. 477."
"The Brewers' Journal 1898", 1898, page 70.

I love the description of the flavour: " a sour taste, which, though not exactly pleasant, could scarcely be considered disgusting." Praise indeed. Personally, I'd be more concerned about all the mould and bacteria.

Saaz yeast - isn't that a type of Lager yeast? Weird that that would be present on millet.

It was at least a decent strength: 4% ABW or 5% ABV. Pretty much like standard beer.